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United in hope
October 31, 2019
N A T I O N A L

How the Impeachment Process Works

The inquiry into President Trump has the potential to reshape his presidency. Here’s how impeachment works.

WASHINGTON — Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Tuesday that the House would launch a formal impeachment in response to the dispute over Mr. Trump’s efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate his potential 2020 rival, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.

The rising furor has heightened interest in how the impeachment process works. Here’s what you need to know:

What is impeachment?

The Constitution permits Congress to remove presidents before their term is up if enough lawmakers vote to say that they committed “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”

Only two presidents have been impeached — Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998 — and both were ultimately acquitted and completed their terms in office. Richard M. Nixon resigned in 1974 to avoid being impeached.

What is a “high crime”?

The term “high crimes and misdemeanors” came out of the British common law tradition: it was the sort of offense that Parliament cited in removing crown officials for centuries. Essentially, it means an abuse of power by a high-level public official. This does not necessarily have to be a violation of an ordinary criminal statute.

In 1788, as supporters of the Constitution were urging states to ratify the document, Alexander Hamilton described impeachable crimes in one of the Federalist Papers as “those offenses which... read more here

Source: Charlie Savage, The New York Times, Sept. 24, 2019, Updated Oct. 4, 2019

S W I N G  S T A T E S

There's still time to Flip Virginia BLUE

If we don't help now, just think of the national headlines next week and wishing we had done more.

Picture waking up next Wednesday, after the GOP has narrowly won in Virginia yet again. Imagine the sinking feeling of knowing we missed a once-in-a-decade chance to put a pro-democracy majority in charge in Virginia and undo years of racial gerrymandering.

This doesn’t have to be our reality: Democrats can flip Virginia on Tuesday. But it’s going to be close, and it’ll take every one of us doing what we can to help. Even if you haven't been able to volunteer so far, there's still time to make an impact on the most important weekend of this election. 

Sign up to make some calls to Virginia voters this weekend—you can do it from home. 

This weekend is the last weekend before Election Day, and the most critical time to volunteer. Having conversations with voters in the four days leading up to an election is a time-tested way to help make sure they vote. Click here, and Swing Left will show you the highest-impact phone banking shifts available, so you’ll know you’re making the biggest difference you can in these races. And they'll give you a script that makes it easy to make calls to voters. They'll give you everything you need to have a successful shift—you just need to dial in.

Democrats are just 4 seats away from finally taking control of the Virginia state legislature. If they win, they could pass life-changing progressive legislation and draw fair district maps so that everyone’s vote actually counts. And people will draw big conclusions about what the Virginia outcome means for Democrats next year, Trump’s chance at re-election, and the future of the Senate and House.

There is no "next weekend" to get involved. This is your last chance to help flip Virginia blue. Sign up to make calls to Virginia this weekend and help get voters to the polls. Your country will thank you!


Source: Swing Left

S T A T E

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Statewide Conference planned for Massachusetts Indivisibles
and allied organizations  


Mark your calendars for December 7 in Worcester!
REGISTER HERE


The year 2020 may well prove decisive for the future of our democracy. Can Trump survive impeachment? Can we take back the White House and the Senate? In Massachusetts, can we get the House to enact progressive legislation? Can we force an adequate response to the urgent threat of climate change both here and nationally? Will Republicans successfully pack the courts, suppress the vote, gerrymander districts, fool with the census and create the conditions for minority rule for years to come? What can each of us do to be effective in 2020?

On December 7, activists from across Massachusetts will gather at Worcester State University to get ready for 2020 and beyond. The conference is being organized by Indivisible Massachusetts and has the participation of Swing Left, Progressive Mass., Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA), 350.org, Our Revolution Massachusetts (ORMA), Progressive Democrats of America, Sister District, Force Multiplier and many local Democratic Town Committees and Women’s March groups.

At this conference you’ll learn how to be most effective in 2020.  The focus of the day will be, not a lot of speeches, but on working sessions. We will start with strategy sessions – both issue and electoral. Then we will move to more tactical and “how to” sessions. Finally, the last session of the day will focus on “bringing it home” – a chance for people to gather either by congressional district, by electoral goal or by issue focus to discuss and create action plans for working together in 2020.

Workshop topics include election planning, both here in Massachusetts and out of state. There will be sessions on strategy and targeting, what works and how to work remotely through texting and phone banking. We’ll cover many pressing issues: climate change, gun safety, healthcare, immigrant and refugee rights, defending women’s reproductive rights, defending and expanding democracy. There will be sessions on impeachment and grassroots activism.

REGISTER HERE

Please share this email with your activist friends. We all need to be prepared for 2020! Learn more about the conference and reserve your spot now.

There is a $35 standard charge for the conference and $15 for students, for registrations before December 1st ($45/$20 after December 1st). However, we will not turn anyone away who cannot pay the full fee. Money must not be barrier to activism. If you or someone you know is unable to pay the conference charge please email lior@indivisible-ma.org  and we will register you for whatever amount you can manage. And if you can, please donate above the standard charge to make it possible for us to offer reduced rates to those that need them. 

2020 will be a critical year in our nation’s history. Get prepared to play your part in defending our democracy - join us!  See you in Worcester on December 7th.

--Michael Ansara, for the Indivisible Conference Planning Team

R E G I O N A L  /  L O C A L

Last CIDC Fall Canvass takes place this Saturday
 
Last chance to volunteer before election day next week


Saturday, November 2
10:00 AM
Nirvana Coffee Company
3206 Main Street (Rt. 6A)
Barnstable Village 02630

RSVP HERE

With election day less than 5 days away, volunteering your time now could make all the difference in helping Democratic candidates for Barnstable Town Council seats make a strong finish on Tuesday, November 5. 

Please join our friends at the
Cape & Islands Democratic Council for the last push to help make Cape Cod more democratic this Saturday, November 2, at 10AM for a day of canvassing.


RSVP on the form linked here and the CIDC will email you to make sure you have everything you need before Saturday! 

--Thank you from Sandy Milano on behalf of the CIDC!

T A K E  A C T I O N
Trump wants to collect DNA from immigrant detainees for a federal criminal database

Raising big concerns about privacy rights and test accuracy

Immigrants in detention sites have no control over their movements, their health, or their futures. Soon, immigrants might not even have control over their DNA. 

The Trump administration has outlined plans to take DNA samples from hundreds of thousands of people living in detention centers without their consent. The Justice Department is claiming it will help solve crimes, but history shows us that the government often abuses mass surveillance tools to violate fundamental rights.

ACT NOW: Submit your public comment against forced DNA collection. The DOJ is accepting comments until Nov. 12 – so your comment could be the difference it takes to stop this proposed rule.

DNA collection could become a normal form of government surveillance – for all of us – if the DOJ moves forward with its plans. Through this new policy, the government will vastly expand its law enforcement DNA database, giving it access to powerful information about the population at large.

Imagine a world in which the government uses your DNA to determine your likelihood of developing a particular health condition or succumbing to substance abuse, and then conditions your ability to work, have children, travel, or receive benefits on that. Or one in which the government tracks your movement by running the DNA you involuntarily leave behind on every cup, tissue, and more against its database.

The dangers can't be overstated. We can't let the government collect immigrant DNA and set us on a path for mass surveillance using our most intimate, sensitive information. Make your public comment now.

Everyone deserves the fundamental right to privacy, including immigrants in detention sites. Thanks for making your voice heard.

Source: ACLU

It's time to support The Safe Communities Act

The Safe Communities Coalition brings together immigrant advocates, civil rights groups, service providers, faith leaders and allies committed to ensuring that in Massachusetts, no one has to live in fear, and everyone’s civil rights will be respected. Since 2016, this coalition has built unprecedented support on Beacon Hill and across our Commonwealth, and ensured the adoption of pro-immigrant policies in dozens of local communities.

Now it’s time to bring its work to fruition. The Safe Communities Act is before the Legislature as S.1401 (Sen. Jamie Eldridge) and H.3573 (Reps. Ruth Balser and Liz Miranda), with core provisions to restore community trust in police by avoiding entanglement in immigration matters, and protect due process for all.

The coalition need to keep building political momentum to ensure that the SCA passes in this session. That means legislators need to keep hearing from constituents, week after week, until we succeed. Please join their campaign today. Click here to send emails or find more ways to take action!

Advocates’ toolkit:

 Safe Communities Act factsheet
 Safe Communities Act legislative sponsors


Source: Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy (MIRA) Coalition

Stop the lifetime appointment of far-right-wing zealot and Betsy DeVos acolyte

Oppose the nomination of Steven Menashi to the U.S. Court of Appeals of the 2nd Circuit

Can you imagine how much damage would occur if Betsy DeVos spent the rest of her life ruling on federal court cases? Well, an important vote is about to take place on whether Betsy DeVos’s right-hand man and architect of most of her disastrous policies gets a lifetime appointment on the federal court of appeals.

Menashi, a special assistant and associate counsel to the president who previously worked as acting general counsel at the Department of Education under Betsy DeVos, has published inflammatory comments about women, LGBTQ people, and people of color. The Senate Judiciary Committee was to have voted on October 31 to determine whether his nomination for a lifetime appointment to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit will be considered by the full Senate.   
 
Just like Betsy DeVos, Steven Menashi has a record steeped in protecting corporations over the interests of students and educators. He has:
  • Authorized using federal funds to arm teachers with guns;
  • Fought to prevent loan forgiveness for students who were defrauded by for-profit colleges; 
  • Wrote the regulation that rolled back Title IX protections, making it harder for schools to protect students from sexual harassment and violence;. 
  • Oversaw the weakening of protections for LGBTQ students and students with disabilities;
  • Worked with Stephen Miller to craft immigration policies that have abused immigrant children and terrified students and families throughout the country; 
A key Senate committee is expected to vote on Menashi’s nomination imminently and the full Senate vote could come quickly after that. The vote is razor thin. Republican and Democratic senators have already expressed bipartisan opposition, but we need more votes to reject his nomination.   
Please email your senators right now and urge them to oppose Betsy DeVos’s right-hand man Steven Menashi for a lifetime appointment on the federal appeals court. 
 

Sources: National Education Association and Media Matters for America
REMINDER: Join us for a N.C. Voter Registration letter-writing gathering
This state is a three-fer, with Presidency, Senate, and Gerrymandering at stake

Monday, November 4
2:00 - 4:00 PM
Brewster Ladies' Library (lower level meeting room)
1822 Main Street, Brewster 02631


LCIers will be writing to under-represented North Carolina voters to help them register to vote and ensure the electorate reflects the true preferences of the state's people. A postage-paid North Carolina voter registration form is included in the mailing. Our goal is to prepare and mail 120 letters in 2 hours. Stamps, envelopes and light refreshments are provided, but donations of stamps, legal-size envelopes, $$ are always welcome!

Join us! It's fun and easy! Any questions, contact Anne at moorea4924@gmail.com.
REMINDER: Environmental Voter Project text bank training
Are you an environmentalist? Want to help get more environmentalists to vote? Join us!

Wednesday, Nov. 13
4-5:30 PM
Brewster Ladies' Library (Lower Level Meeting Room)
1822 Main Street, Brewster 02631


Deborah Shah of the Environmental Voter Project will hold a text bank training in Brewster to teach us how to text environmentally-leaning but inactive voters GET OUT THE VOTE. Our goal will be to significantly increase voter demand for environmental leadership by identifying inactive environmentalists and then turning them into consistent activists and voters.

The texting system is very simple to learn--all you need is a phone (or computer)! And once you've learned, you can join--or hold--a texting gathering to make sure we do all we can to GOTV in 2020.
Questions? Contact:  LowerCapeIndivisible@gmail.com for information.

Go ALL OUT for Ranked Choice Voting

Voter Choice Massachusetts offers multiple opportunities to help in next two weeks

On Election Day, Tuesday, November 5, thousands of registered voters will go to the polls -- we need your help to collect their signatures.

Next Tuesday is the biggest and best chance to gather signatures before the November 13 deadline for getting Ranked Choice Voting on the 2020 ballot. And here are 5 things you can do in the final 16 days:

1.  Sign up for an Election Day canvass shift at a polling place near you.

2.  Spend an hour or two cavassing on your own schedule.

3.  Join us for a Last Chance Super Canvass between Nov. 8-11.

4.  Help us with administrative tasks at a field office, like organizing mailings or sorting signature sheets.

5.  Donate to our ballot committee.

Click here to view all volunteer opportunities.

Questions? Email Lindsay CrouchRegional Field Organizer, Barnstable/Dukes/Nantucket Counties, Voter Choice Massachusetts.

Source:  Voter Choice for Massachusetts
E V E N T S

REMINDER: Film, presentation & Q&A on voter suppression at the Orpheum

Suppressed: The Fight to Vote and presentation by ACLU Massachusetts racial justice attorney

Saturday, November 9
8:45 am -
Doors open/refreshments for sale in lobby
9:15 am - Show Time
10:10-11:00 am - Guest Speaker


Chatham Orpheum Theater
637 Main Street, Chatham 02633

Reserve your seat now!


Lower Cape Indivisible is pleased to present this two-part event:

  1. Film Suppressed: The Fight to Vote -  The powerful new documentary by Robert Greenwald weaves together personal stories from voters across the state of Georgia to paint an undeniable picture of voter suppression in the 2018 midterm election where Stacey Abrams fought to become the first Black female governor in the U.S. The issues Georgians faced included polling place closures, voter purges, missing absentee ballots, extreme wait times and a host of voter ID issues – all of which disproportionately prevented many students and people of color from casting their ballots. The film exposes that the basic constitutional right to vote continues to be under siege in America.
  2. Guest Speaker - Attorney Rahssan D. Hall, Director, Racial Justice Program for the ACLU Massachusetts.  Atty. Hall will speak, by Skype, on the ACLU of Massachusetts’ integrated advocacy approach to address racial justice issues. Through legislative advocacy, litigation and community engagement, the program works on issues that deeply impact communities of color and historically disenfranchised communities. Rahsaan also manages the ACLU of Massachusetts' What a Difference a DA Makes campaign to educate state residents about the power and influence of district attorneys. His presentation will be followed by an opportunity for audience Q&A.

All proceeds to benefit FAIR FIGHT (FairFight.com), a national campaign led by Stacey Abrams to build voter protections in 20 states.
 

Reserve your seat/purchase your ticket here.

Reminder: 91% - A Film About Guns in America
Presented by Grandmothers Against Gun Violence 

Saturday, November 16
2:00 - 4:30pm
Cape Cod Synagogue
145 Winter Street, Hyannis


America’s 325 million residents own an estimated 347 million firearms. Not surprisingly, gun violence has become one of the most urgent public health issues facing Americans today. In 91%, a cross-section of U.S. gun violence victims tell their heartbreaking stories of loss, pain, and a heroic search for hope in a nation stalled in a senseless gun control debate.

By highlighting the impact of unregulated gun sales on schools, families, and communities across the country, 91% addresses the real problems and possible solutions to gun violence in America. It’s something we all agree about, we just don’t know it yet. More information, click here.
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A word from Lower Cape Indivisible:


We are now seeking JUST ONE individuals or entity to contribute $35 each to defray Chatham Orpheum Theater rental costs for the screening of Suppressed: The Fight to Vote.
Thank you to those who've already donated!


If you would like to help, please let us know at lowercapeindivisible@gmail.com

AND click here to donate.

Thank you.


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Your donation—no matter the size—will help defray the direct costs of operations, from meeting room rentals and printing to posters and transportation. What’s more, your contribution will enable us to grow our programs to further inform and mobilize Cape Cod communities to resist the Trump administration and promote progressive values, candidates and policies at all levels.

*Contributions to LCI made through ActBlue are not deductible as charitable contributions for federal income tax purposes.
Lower Cape Indivisible is an all-volunteer group of Cape Cod citizens whose mission is to mobilize for social, economic and environmental justice; promote universal participation in the democratic process; and resist political agendas that subvert American democracy. Standing for inclusion, tolerance, and fairness, we are one of more than 6000 Indivisible groups committed to resisting the Trump/Pence/McConnell agenda, as well as to holding our state and local leaders accountable for fair and ethical action. Our work is based on the original Indivisible Guide, created by former congressional staffers who wanted to demystify political activism and share effective tactics for change.
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